What is Digital Marketing? Let’s clarify more this concept

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The pervasiveness of digital in the everyday life is now evident.
The added value and the opportunities offered by digital channels are clear: today it is the most important way to connect companies with people by creating with them a relationship that can potentially enrich both parties.

But what does Digital Marketing mean? Let’s think about it for a second: this is an expression certainly known to most, even if it is often difficult to give it a precise definition, especially when you are not an expert. Today we will try to clarify the concept of digital marketing: what is it? What does it include? Why is it important? But, before starting, it is essential to make a distinction from the term Web Marketing. Often these two concepts are used as synonyms, but, they are not: web marketing is a part of digital marketing and includes all those activities that include strategies and tools that exploit web channels, excluding all other channels which are purely digital (such as digital billboards). They are two disciplines that can – and must – relate to the other, being two aspects of marketing. But let’s get to the heart of it.

What is digital marketing? A definition

Let’s start with a rather generic definition:

The term digital marketing indicates all the operations taking place on the digital market implemented through digital tools and channels, in order to support and push the sale of products and services.

Here we are. But the question may arise spontaneously: what are the tools and channels that fall within the digital classification? The list is quite broad and, above all, constantly evolving. If when we talk about the digital market it is rather immediate to understand that we are talking about the online market, perhaps it is not the same with regard to the tools and channels used by the various players to move through its meanders.

So let’s try to see together everything that commonly falls within that field called digital marketing. But with an extra point of view, ours! Because all these aspects have and create value, if realized in a way that companies can involve people and talk with them in order to achieve the best experience.

Companies today have at their disposal tools and approaches to investigate in an objective and unmediated way the real experience of people in their physical and digital ecosystems. Reality is interconnected and omnichannel. Each type of product can be object of analysis: physical, digital products or environments with high information complexity. Through listening it is possible to provide companies with a complete and profound vision of what people see, say and do, but, above all, of what they feel during the relationship with their points of contact.

We talk about the value of big data and small data (cfr. Linstrom Martin, Small Data), we live the complexity of digital marketing and the number of data that we can collect by bringing our listening and our care into all the individual activities:


  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

SEO, in short, represents all those activities aimed at improving the visibility of a website on search engines (Google, Bing, Yahoo etc.). The analysis and construction phases of our organic visibility projects always involve the protagonist of the search intent and of the serp analysis. To learn more, read this article on the subject.


  • Search Engine Marketing (SEM) or Digital Advertising

For Search Engine Marketing (or more simply SEM), we mean all those activities that deal with creating real advertisements to sponsor companies, products and services. Also in this case, people guide us in understanding and interpreting data. Constant monitoring of people’s behaviour is essential to identify the best possible solution for each need together with the companies.


  • Content Marketing

Also part of the Digital Marketing is Content Marketing, that is the activity of creating and sharing content to be spread on digital channels to engage people and establish long-term connections with them, stimulating their interest. Creating relationships through a content strategy means knowing and following, deepening and serving interests and passions, establishing a credible and lasting relationship between them and companies.


  • Social Media Marketing

In some ways the definition of Social Media Marketing could fall within that of Content Marketing – or at least it can certainly be part of the “marketing done with content”- even if there are some hints that differentiate these two fields. All of us are now quite confident with Social Media: Facebook and Instagram, at least, are known to most, and then there are Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Snapchat among the most used in the world. As we all know, on social media channels there are not only profiles associated with persons, but also pages belonging to the Brands, which use them as channels to spread values, promotions and more … How? Through content, specially designed – or sometimes adapted – for dissemination through social channels. Each channel is an important tool for creating a relationship between the brand and people by listening to their needs. Next to this activity there is also that of Community Management, which deals with managing relationships with people who interact with the brand through social channels.


  • Direct E-mail marketing (DEM)

A specific and limited sub-category of Digital Marketing is that of Direct E-mail marketing – often abbreviated to DEM – which, as the English name suggests, includes all those marketing activities implemented through the direct sending of e-mail messages to the single person.


  • Digital Analytics

What is this activity? It is essentially a matter of measuring, collecting and analyzing data coming from the web to understand the behavior of people when they browse through the pages. In fact, observing people’s online behaviour and understanding their habits helps improving navigation and the experience of a website or application in its entirety, so it is an important activity to optimize the services offered by an online company.


These are the largest areas of that great category of activity that takes the name of Digital Marketing, but we certainly cannot close this list with a fixed point. The Digital Marketing includes or can include – depending on the nature of the project we are working on – also other activities: the Affiliation, the web partnership (which in turn can be declined in sponsorship, co-marketing and co-branding), product placement and so on. A list that certainly cannot be considered definitively concluded even at this point, because progress continually brings new features that allow us to exploit new technologies and tools to make completer and more effective the marketing activity carried out on the web.

But why is it important to do digital marketing? What are the benefits?

Digital Marketing represents an important opportunity, if you want to support sales of products and services, attract new customers or retain existing ones, supporting it or integrating it with more traditional offline marketing activities. In other cases, however, digital marketing is the only sales opportunity: think about the e-commerce, for which internet marketing is an essential part of their existence, because if they could not sell anything online bankruptcy would be assured. In the case of an e-commerce it is therefore essential an integrated digital strategy that guarantees the conversion of contacts into actual sales. For brands that also have offline sales channels, digital marketing is an opportunity to be exploited to take advantage of various benefits. Let’s see which ones.

The benefits of digital marketing for a brand

Implementing a Digital Marketing strategy for your company can certainly bring several advantages, especially from the point of view of understanding and listening to people:


  • Measurement of the results obtained. Unlike traditional and offline marketing activities, digital marketing makes it possible to accurately measure, thanks to well-defined metrics, the results achieved through any activity. Through the integration of an approach based on listening to people, it is possible to understand people’s satisfaction and enrich the data collected with relevant information that allows for a broader and more complete vision of widespread needs and desires. This first advantage is a fundamental part of the second:
  • Opportunity to continuously improve their performance. Having precise feedback on the results obtained through the various activities, the strengths and weaknesses within a digital marketing strategy are easily identifiable. This means that it is equally easy to understand how to continuously improve the performances obtained and where to intervene in case of need to further improve the quality of the experience;
  • Continuous campaign and communication innovation. A field so contaminated and dependent on technology such as digital marketing can only promise a continuous renewal of practices, tools and techniques, which in turn will always offer the opportunity to brands to design innovative and targeted strategies, able to reach in effectively the people we wanted to talk to;
  • High customization possibilities. Unlike offline marketing and advertising on traditional media, digital marketing allows the brand to customize campaigns and initiatives according to its target. Why? Because thanks to the measurement tools offered by the web and to listening to people, it is possible to create ad hoc campaigns and initiatives.
  • More effective loyalty. Personalized initiatives help to create a more intimate and close relationship with the customer, who has more possibilities to interact and dialogue directly with the brand on the web, providing useful feedback to improve products and services. If the brand listens to what people have to say about their needs and desires in relation to a product or service, the possibility of establishing a lasting relationship based on trust is certainly higher.


It is called digital and it is marketing, but if integrated with people and cultures it seems the reference to the good practices of commerce that have developed from Marco Polo to the present day.


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1 October 2019 Valentina Saetta

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